This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Brian’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Youth bottled up into a movie, or perhaps what we wish our youth had looked like. Song after song just bleeding one into the next, and so little plot but it doesn't matter at all - this is the ultimate hangout movie, and you can tell how personal all of this is to Richard Linklater. There are so many shots in this that just tap into the gut of nostalgia - sunrise coming up over a hill with a beautiful red car as Mitch makes out with Julie, Pink and Wooderson rushing into break up a fight, O'Bannion (who was apparently Ben Affleck, which I never would have guessed in a million years) covered in paint. Yes, this is obviously very much a movie taking place in the 1970s, but it's also a universal experience.
When Mitch's mom tells him on his return home that she hopes the night was worth it, my reaction was "it most certainly was." I think that the dichotomy of Linklater, namely the personal versus what feels like the more studio influenced fare (Where'd You Go Bernadette, Last Flag Flying, etc.), is most certainly obvious in this - this is something that Linklater had to have personally experienced in order to capture it so beautifully. Just a touch of joy of a single night in an adolescence, and amazingly rendered.